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Reflections On Year 1 Of Cycle Commuting; Part 1

Friends of mine have cycle commuted for years and when I first spoke to one in particular about it I had questions like:-

  1. What if it's raining?
  2. Do you have to plan to shower when you get there and take a towel with you?
  3. Is there somewhere to park?
  4. How do you carry your stuff?
  5. Did you have to buy a spare hairdryer for work? And a brush? And Product?.. And make up?
  6. What do you do if you puncture?
  7. How did you plan your route?

There seemed so many obstacles to cycling to work. Obstacles which as a leisure road cyclist I didn’t have to consider.

At the time I lived 1.8km from work and I walked. There was no point getting my bike out and having ‘all that faff’ to deal with. The quickest way to and from work, door to door, was to walk. 

Then I moved jobs. But I went from the sublime to the ridiculous. My new job was a 110 mile round trip M62 motorway drive. Or an 84 mile direct route round trip over the Pennines. Inspired by my friend’s relentless bike commute habit I decided that it was feasible sometimes to ride in. At least that’s when it was a long daylight day, in fine weather, when I had a 10am start and when I had the motivation to pack my suitcase of ‘stuff’ and take it over by car the day before. And in the 3 years I worked there I managed it - I never got out of single digits for my total number of round trips. But at least I got to work some days entirely under my own steam and at no cost. 

After 3 years of awful car commuting (with little realistic alternative to break the monotony) I volunteered for redundancy. I was tired of the car, the drive, the motorway. The only brightness about the journey was the opportunity to chatter hands free with my parents or friends.

My next job was a 6 mile round trip commute. I didn’t have any excuses. The reality was I didn’t want any. 

So I set about getting myself organised....


Part two of this three piece blog will follow tomorrow.

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